YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Record Victory for Jones

February 21, 2001|From Associated Press

Andruw Jones became the first player in nine years to set a salary arbitration record with a win when a panel selected his $8.2-million request Tuesday over Atlanta's $6.4-million offer.

"We felt like we had a strong case," Brave General Manager John Schuerholz said. "I'm surprised a little bit, but not entirely. That's the nature of this process."

Jones' salary eclipsed the previous arbitration high of $7.25 million set last year by New York Yankee closer Mariano Rivera--who had requested $9.25 million but lost his hearing.

Jones, who made $3.7 million last season, had his best year in 2000, hitting .303 with 36 homers, 104 RBIs and 21 steals. The center fielder also won his third straight Gold Glove.

There was no decision in the case of Baltimore right-hander Jose Mercedes, who also went to a hearing Monday. He asked to be awarded $3.8 million instead of the team's $2.75 million offer.

Minnesota pitcher LaTroy Hawkins, who had been scheduled for a hearing Tuesday, instead agreed to a $4-million, two-year contract.

Oakland pitcher Jim Mecir, whose case was scheduled for today, agreed to a $6.95-million, three-year deal.


His limp was more telling than the physical he passed hours earlier.

Albert Belle worked out with the Baltimore Orioles, but his arthritic right hip hindered his ability to run and forced him to perform at less than full speed.

Belle is coming off arguably the worst season of his career. Forced to miss 20 games in September, the outfielder finished with a .281 batting average and only 23 homers, the first time since 1991 he failed to hit at least 30.

After being examined by team physicians Tuesday morning, Belle was hindered by a restrictive limp as he participated in his first practice this spring.

"Swinging the bat, he looked fine," Manager Mike Hargrove said. "I thought he looked a little limited in his running, but it was only the first day."


Former New York Met pitcher Sid Fernandez, out of baseball since 1997, was signed to a minor league contract by the New York Yankees.

"We saw enough where we're intrigued," Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman said.

The 38-year old left-hander, 114-96 in 15 major league seasons, went through a 15-minute, 48-pitch audition. He was given No. 36, last worn by David Cone, another former Met.

"It's win-win for me," Fernandez said. "It's exciting to come here. It's not a guarantee. At least I got a shot."

Fernandez retired because of what was thought to be an elbow problem. The pain turned out to be related to a nerve in his neck, and Fernandez said he is pain-free.


Rick Ankiel is having trouble finding the plate again.

The St. Louis Cardinal pitcher, whose wildness during last season's NL playoffs was well documented, drilled the back screen a couple times and bounced a few more pitches in front of catcher Mike Matheny during a 40-pitch sequence.

Ankiel, asked if he felt out of whack, smiled weakly and said, "You know the answer to that question."

Ankiel, in his second season with the Cardinals, threw far better in his first session of the spring on Saturday.

"I feel for him. I hurt for him," said Matheny, behind the plate for both sessions. "He's going to be all right but it's something we can't do for him, no matter how hard we want to."


San Diego Padre pitching coach Dave Smith left spring training and will take an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons. The team would not elaborate on his departure. . . . The New York Yankees hope to offer Darryl Strawberry a job in their organization if his suspension from baseball for drug use is ended by the commissioner's office this year. . . . The Kansas City Royals released pitcher Steve Rain, a former Walnut High standout, after the right-hander showed up two hours late to workouts Tuesday. . . . Former major league outfielder Jacob Brumfield, 35, signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals.

Los Angeles Times Articles